Do I have to start all over with the eviction process if my tenant made a partial payment?

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Do I have to start all over with the eviction process if my tenant made a partial payment?

I’m a landlord, trying to follow all the proper procedures. Last month I was awarded a writ of possession. The tenant asked me for 15 days to remedy the situation and he did (3 months delinquent). So I cancelled the forcible entry. I then informed him (both verbally and in writing) that I had to raise his rent. The rent was due ont the first of this month; on the 5th I called to ask why I hadn’t received it. Finally I got it on the 7th but it was $150 short of the increased amount. He said that was all that he was willing to pay. What can I do? He’s putting me in the poor house.

Asked on October 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you canceled the prior eviction proceedings, then you will have to file a new suit, because your tenant would have a defense to the first one, which is "accord and satisfaction" because he paid the delinquent balance. 

When you restart this time, continue with the process and require him to pay the full amount due.  You may also want to consider having an attorney that does landlord tenant law help you-- because if you can show a willful refussal (which it appears is the case), then you can also collect attorney's fees and make this process more expensive for the tenant. 

Lawsuits do tend to cost money, but an eviction suit is not too terribly costly-- and it may be more cost effective in the long run than keeping a poor tenant.

If you don't want to start the eviction proceeding again, you just may want to wait the contract out.  If you only have a month or so left, then just send the notices required in your contract with the tenant for terminating the lease agreement.  It may cost you a month's rent, but it will also save the headache of an appearance in court.


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